The East Carolina University women’s basketball team will look to snap its two game losing streak when the Pirates host the University of Central Florida on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates (10-7, 1-3 AAC) are coming off a tough 58-46 road loss at The University of Memphis (7-10, 2-2 AAC) Saturday. This was a game they played without three players, which included senior forward Destiny Campbell, junior guard Raven Johnson and sophomore forward Tamia Hicks due to injuries.
The team struggled in shooting during its last game, going 18-for-73 from the field, and 2-for-19 from the three point line.
The Knights (16-2, 5-0 AAC), who are coming off a 55-43 win against Southern Methodist University, are currently on a six game winning streak. They have not lost a game during conference play and are now standing at the top of the AAC, tied with the University of Connecticut for first place.
ECU will have its hands full on Wednesday as it will try to stop the conference’s leading scorer junior guard Korneila Wright, who averages 19.3 points per game on 43 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent from three and 83 percent from the free throw line in 35.5 minutes a game.
ECU will also have to be on the lookout for redshirt senior guard Nyala Shuler, who is averaging a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game, and leads the Knights with 47 total offensive rebounds.
Although it will be a tough assignment, the Pirates are well equipped on defense to stop Wright, as they have a good defensive backcourt and dominant bigs in the paint. ECU ranks first in the conference in steals and second in blocks. This defense is driven by sophomore guard Lashonda Monk who averages 3.9 steals per game, leading both the team and the league in that category, and Campbell who blocks 1.5 shots per game.
Campbell will receive defensive help in the paint from senior forward Desiree Corbin who only averages 4.4 rebounds but is coming off a her career high, 14 rebounds against Memphis and has blocked a total of 15 shots in 17 games this season.
Besides stopping UCF’s top scorer, the team will have to play a good game defensively to be able to stop the 64.3 points per game average, and the 41 percent field goal percentage its had all season long.
For the team to be able to stop the Knights, ECU has to dominate the boards and protect the three point line, because UCF has an offensive rebound percentage of 35 percentage. The Pirates have given up a conference worst 514 offensive rebounds.
While UCF only makes 3.7 three pointers per game, it shoots them at a rate of 35 percent. This will be a hard part of the game to slow down because ECU has one of the worst defenses in terms of three point shooting, as it has allowed opponents to shoot 33 percent from behind the line.
If the team wants to break its two game losing streak against the Knights, it will have to shoot the ball better, something its been struggling with this season. The Pirates score 63.2 points per game and shoot 36 percent from the field, while going 17-for-76 from three point territory.
The offense will be put to the test, as UCF is playing exceptional defense this season, it is only allowing opponents to score 52.4 points per game, while allowing them to shoot a low 34 percent from the field and 29 percent from three. On top of that, they also commit 10.8 steals per game.
ECU will have to try and score some easy baskets when given the opportunity on the fast break or the offensive glass. The team is a fast paced one when its able to steal the ball and score in transition, which is a lot since it averages 12 steals a game. ECU struggles on second chance points, as it grabs 14.7 offensive boards a game, but does not score on most of them. This should be a big concern since its coming off a season high of 27 offensive rebounds, but only scored 12 second chance points off of those rebounds.
It will definitely be a tough matchup for the Pirates, but for them to get a big momentum victory against one of the best teams in the AAC, they must be aggressive on the defensive end, stop UCF’s best player in Wright, take care of the ball and not give their opponent extra possessions, on top of trying to score easy baskets.
ECU has lost five of its last six games. Beating a team that has only lost two games this season and is 8-1 on the road, would be this team’s biggest win to date. The Pirates will look to stop their two game losing streak on Wednesday night in Minges Coliseum at 7 p.m.